One of the things I like best about the summer is that EVERYONE GOES AWAY.
When summer vacation rolls around, our neighbours start to go on vacation. Well, the ones with kids do, anyway — the ones without are working, and they are away all day. And so — with the exception of the World’s Noisiest Air Conditioning Unit, owned by our next-door neighbours — our street becomes blissfully quiet.
It’s wonderful, this quiet. That Girl would probably beg to differ, with just me to play with and no kids around, she’s not as big a fan.
But for me, I can hear myself think. At least, until That Girl starts talking my ear off, in that way that six-year-old girls have.
If I sit in my backyard in the morning, with a cup of coffee, the woods behind buffer any neighbourhood noise, and it’s quiet enough to hear the buzzing of the bees, or a wood wasp chewing on the wooden porch rails. Its quiet enough to hear the footsteps of our resident chipmunk, Pip, as she scampers up and down the steps to get the peanuts we leave for her.
It’s nice. Sometimes I can get up before That Girl and get half an hour all to myself, to sit outside and just think.
But even with Herself around, and once some of the neighbours are out and about, it’s still quite peaceful. We can sometimes go out front and blow bubbles, or throw the frisbee, or Stinkerbelle can ride her scooter, and I don’t generally have to worry about cars roaring up and down the street or obnoxious neighbour children being, well, obnoxious. On a regular Saturday morning, that’s generally not an option.
And swimming in the pool — well, being as ashamed of how I look as I am, I will rarely get in the pool when people are around. But with the neighbours on both sides away, I have actually gotten in the water this summer.
It can’t be like this all the time, however. Although BDH and I dream of a quiet, secluded place on a lake someday, in reality that likely won’t happen — or at least not as long as That Girl is living with us. She craves people, a social atmosphere, and so as long as she’s at home, there will have to be easy access to others. I suppose her dad and I were probably much the same when we were her age.
But for these couple of weeks a year, I quite enjoy the change. I can identify birdsong and I can make lists and plans and I can listen to podcasts, outside enjoying the breeze or the sunshine.
It’s like our own little cottage vacation, without the stress and traffic of the drive to Muskoka. And without the endless buzz of jet skis.
It’s not all fun and games. We do get in our appointments, and some homework and some housework and chores, and the odd bit of gardening. But it’s mostly fun and games for this brief interlude. We’ll have lots of time for the work to be done once the neighbours and back and our time is no longer entirely peaceful and private.
Vacation time is too short at the best of times.